Baricat Profile - (131039)

cook's profile


Home Town: Upstate, New York, USA
Living In: Southeast, Florida, USA
Member Since: Mar. 2000
Cooking Level: Professional
Cooking Interests: Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Stir Frying, Asian, Italian, Mediterranean, Healthy, Vegetarian, Dessert, Gourmet
Hobbies: Quilting
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About this Cook
My husband and I are avid scuba enthusiasts, and we have been diving all over the world in our 23 years of scuba certification. I enjoy quilting when I'm not cooking. Six years ago, I shed some 112 pounds after an illness, but still enjoy cooking for my husband and grown kids. Our older child, a son, is an attorney, and our daughter is a PA (Physician Assistant.) Life sure is different when you wear a size 2, but as I tell my family, just because I don't eat anymore doesn't mean I can't cook. Cooking is my life-line. It keeps me connected. My family blessed me with a rich culinary heritage, and I began learning early. My mom went back to college for her masters in education when I was still in high school, so I cooked dinner for my family on many occasions. Food is the great equalizer. Rich or poor, there are few who don't experience a truly visceral enjoyment via great food. For me, few pleasures equal creating something that makes people moan with near-ecstasy!
My favorite things to cook
Anything Italian, as that's my family background. Love to bake - cakes, cookies, breads, pies. Love Oriental cuisine. Originally trained classically in France, then completed chef training at Johnson and Wales University (Providence, RI - the one that Emeril graduated from, although I graduated a couple of years after him) with a degree in Culinary Arts. I've worked as an executive chef for a private school, a caterer, culinary instructor, and a pastry chef. I then went into food journalism and wrote restaurant reviews for the newspaper and several magazines.
My favorite family cooking traditions
To Italian families, food is a source of joy and celebration. We dream about it, talk about it, anticipate it, savor it, share it. Home made pasta continues to be a staple, as are creamy risottos. My dad and I together developed an atypical barbecue sauce that never fails to draw raves. But, because of a promise I made my dad decades ago, I can't part with the recipe, except to those who share his (and my) bloodline! Speaking of bloodlines, neither of my kids caught the culinary bug. They'd rather come here and have mom make a meal for them. I will be forever grateful to my mother for instilling in my heart a love of all facets of baking, including breads, fruit pies, cakes and cookies. Christmas cookies are a major tradition here. In fact, of all the things I make, it has occurred to me over the years that everyone is universally into cookies. If the world concentrated on baking more cookies, we'd be one giant step closer to world peace.
My cooking triumphs
Beef Wellington, veal Prince Orloff, home made fruit sorbets and ice creams of all stripes (like mango, cranberry with red wine, kiwi, pomegranate (before anyone ever knew what it was!), vertical layer cake wrapped in white and bittersweet chocolate ribbons, and Marcel Desaulnier's (of The Trellis) Death By Chocolate, hands down the most labor-intensive (and murderously, artery-cloggingly scrumptious) dessert I ever made. Think days, not hours.
My cooking tragedies
One night as a brand new bride, about a week after returning from our honeymoon, I made my husband ocean perch for dinner, poached in white wine with fresh lemon and herbs. I was so excited about introducing him to the magic of French cuisine! When I lifted the lid of the pan, DH who had just come home from work, wrinkled his nose, made a godawful face, and said, "It smells like someone puked in here." I cried buckets. I never, EVER, made that recipe again (even though I thought it tasted fantastic!) obviously. Fortunately, I can't recall any more dinners in some 39 years of marriage that have elicited even a vaguely similar reaction.
Recipe Reviews 280 reviews
Oven Fried Chicken II
The challenge with any oven fried recipe is to end up with a crispy exterior. In order to do so, I used a 3-prong approach. First, I used panko crumbs which tend to contribute crunch. Then, I opted to use convection baking which distributes the heat evenly. The first half of cooking time I held to the 350 degrees, and upped it to 375 for the latter half. And third, I flipped the chicken every 10 minutes. The reason oven fried products are difficult to crisp up is that at any given time, one side is down, meaning the down side is steaming somewhat from resting in its juices. By flipping several times, you maximize the time each side is exposed to the dry heat, thereby creating the greatest opportunity to lose the moisture that renders your breading soggy and unappealing.The chicken meat was juicy and meltingly tender. I added spices to the panko, including sage, marjoram, thyme and a whisper of cayenne. Hands down the best oven fried chicken recipe I ever had. BTW, not to worry if you don't have a convection oven. It's not a deal breaker. You can accomplish good results just by flipping more often. As by now you can tell I had to make significant changes to the directions in order to improve the results, so that loses a point. But 4 stars for the basic concept, ingredients, and prep procedure.

2 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Nov. 6, 2014
Easy Peanut Butter Bars
Just as the title says, these are super easy to throw together, using ingredients that are probably found in most pantries at any given time.I used the food processor, creaming the wet ingredients until smooth, then pulsed in the dry ingredients, just to incorporate. Into the oven in 5 minutes flat! I baked them for 19 minutes total, and they were wonderfully chewy. Since I didn't have enough chocolate chips, I melted the few ounces I had, put it in a ziplock bag, snipping off a corner, and squeezing out squiggles over the top. Nice presentation, and enough chocolate that each bar had a touch, and no mess. Simple to make, homey, delicious goodness.

1 user found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Oct. 30, 2014
Super Lemon Ice Cream
Fan flippin TASTIC! I have made this several different ways, beside just as written. It's great like it is, but we prefer to reverse the proportions of heavy cream and half-and-half, meaning one cup heavy cream and two cups of half-and-half. It's a bit less unctuous that way, with less cholesterol and fewer calories, allowing that fresh, clean taste to shine. It's still wonderfully creamy this way, and quite rich enough. I especially like to use Meyer lemons from our back yard, harvested just before making the base. Subbing 1/4 cup limoncello for 1/4 cup of the lemon juice keeps it scoopable right from the freezer. I have also steeped 1 cup of roughly torn basil leaves in the heated cream/sugar mix for an hour, straining the leaves out before proceeding with the custard. SPECTACULAR, as well as quite chic. We love it topped with fresh strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries. Any which way you make this, however, you're going to love it even more than you think you will. It's the type of thing that sneaks up on you. After it's all gone, you'll be pining for more.

2 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Oct. 1, 2014
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Cooking Level: Expert
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